Law Office of Paul W. Hamilton

Impact Of Divorce On Family Structure In Arizona


Families can be construed as living things; it grows, develops and evolves over time as the family structure expands and changes. Changes to the structure of a family may occur as a result of new members joining the family through marriage or the birth of children. At other times, it’s the result of losing family members as loved ones pass away. However it can be particularly difficult to cope with the breakdown of a family either through separation or divorce. People deal with separation or divorce in different ways and there is no generic right or wrong way of dealing with it. Divorce can be defined as the ending of a marriage. However, the additional relationships that were tied to this marriage are often neglected as these peripheral relationships may include extended families such as in-laws, whilst core relationships include children.

Dissolution of a marriage through divorce does not address the impact of divorce upon all of the relationships that are created through a marriage. Children may be categorized as the most affected by either a separation or divorce. Many changes take effect when a parental unit breaks up. The changes may be physical such as the literal separation of each parent as well as emotional such as the confusion and frustration of not understanding what is happening or why it is happening. Family demographics are constantly evolving and the philosophical underpinnings of relationships are changing as well. Young adults mostly feel that marriage is old-fashioned and that open cohabitating relationships provide a healthier option that is more conducive to their desires. Parents often believe that their children will adapt to new family relationships and their divorce or separation will have few adverse consequences.

Children may sometimes react to the situation in unexpected ways such as unusual poor academic performance, withdrawal from friends and family, and problematic behavior. The first reactions of a child to divorce or separation is confusion, denial, and fear. Subsequent reactions may include anger, depression, or even panic attacks unless their feelings are assuaged early on by the parents. An extended family can also feel the effects of separation or divorce. Family members of each spouse may feel like they have to take sides in the issue and this leads to confusion and it adversely impacts the children. Children are mostly sensitive towards hostility especially if it’s being directed toward one of their parents by another parent or family member. Children typically struggle with balancing divided loyalties and feeling disloyal if they still love dad when mum is visibly upset or vice versa.

Grandparents and other members of an extended family may also be conflicted over whether they should take sides and the children realize this. If the extended family expresses prejudice toward one parent, this can reinforce those feelings of confusion in children and damage the parent child relationship. It may be difficult to manage these issues in the midst of an ongoing divorce, it’s important to communicate regularly with your children and extended family. You should explain to them how you would like your family to move forward despite the divorce. You should talk about your feelings openly even if they are feelings of hurt or frustration. Let your children know that although you’re upset, it’s okay to talk about how they are feeling. This eliminates the sense that certain topics are off limits which serves to compound a person’s feelings of frustration.

When family relationships break down, much is at stake both financially and personally. It is important to work with an experienced and knowledgeable lawyer to navigate the Arizona Divorce Process and who is fully prepared to do whatever it takes to protect your rights and interests when you are going through the Divorce Process in Arizona.

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